MINISTER of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affair, Ziyambi Ziyambi is currently battling for his life in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a Harare hospital amid a COVID-19 explosion that has paralysed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Cabinet.
This comes as the country is still to come to terms with the demise of three Cabinet ministers – two of the deaths being recorded inside a week.
Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza died aged 61, on January 22, two days after Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo, 61, succumbed to COVID-19 early on Wednesday.
COVID-19, this month, also claimed the lives of Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Ellen Gwaradzimba and military commander, Brigadier-General Collin Moyo (Retired), who were buried at the national shrine.
Former Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri died last year due COVID-19 related complications.
Ziyambi had been hospitalised after catching the respiratory infection, the Zim Morning Post reported, citing government sources.
“These ministers held private parties over the festive season with family and friends – some were carrying the South African variant. Having been infected, they went on to interact with colleagues oblivious of the impending implosion,” a government insider who requested anonymity said.
“We are at the peak of 28-day window period since Christmas. Naturally, the people whom they came into contact with including ministers are not only shocked but are living in fear.”
As at 22 January 2021, Zimbabwe had 30 523 confirmed cases, including 21 080 recoveries and 962 deaths.
Zimbabwe’s casualties in Cabinet, which have not only cost precious life but have derailed set deliverable in ministries, leave President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s with a excruciating headache of how to move forward.
The departed cabinet ministers in question are Perrance Shiri (Agriculture), Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs) and Joel Biggie Matiza (Transport), were some of Mnangagwa’s work horses, in a cabinet that has a significant number of ministers who have proved to be deadwood.
“This is a major blow for Mnangagwa, he lost three of his best men who were sharp and hardworking. Replacing them will be hard for him from the current crop of House of Assembly members at his disposal. The options become even more limited if he considers the political matrix of which MPs are for him and which are against him,” said a South African based political science scholar who preferred anonymity.
When Shiri traded his military cap for political gloves upon his appointment as Agriculture minister, he proved that he was a hands on politician who was exemplary even at his own farm in Marondera.
His mission was, however, cut short by the coronavirus and his replacement Anxious Masuka is still making an attempt to ensure smooth continuity to fulfil his mandate.
He was seized with massive corruption cases surrounding distribution of Command Agriculture inputs.
“Unlike Shiri, his replacement lacks the hands on approach and has failed to set up control mechanisms to plug abuse of inputs. On Pfumvudza there has been inadequate education and Information dissemination extended to farmers. He is lucky that God blessed us with heavy rains and a bumper harvest will save his face,” said a political analyst who refused to be named. – Zim Morning Post 🔺